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1. Before the Next Step

God is your anchor in an unpredictable sea of change.

And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are on the face of the earth?” -Exodus 33:14-16

Life is full of “next-steps”: new school years, new jobs and new life stages. Preparing for these next steps can often be difficult and stressful. We doubt our capabilities. We worry about the upcoming challenges. We fear the unknown.

Like many of us may be experiencing, Moses faced a next-step moment as leader of the Israelites. Called by God to lead the Israelite people out of their slavery in Egypt and to the Promised Land, Moses carried a great responsibility. How did Moses prepare for his future?

At the end of the book of Exodus, we see Moses meeting with God on top of a mountain. While waiting for Moses to return below, the Israelites grow impatient. They build a golden calf idol and worship it, rebelling against God. In response, God tells Moses that he is still committed to bringing the people into the promised land; however, God says that the people will be led by an angel instead of by his presence.

Moses will not settle for this! He pleads with God. He questions how they will go on if God pulls back his presence.

God says that while he is withdrawing his presence from the people, he will continue to remain with Moses. But for Moses, this is still not good enough!

Moses wants the full reinstatement of God’s presence with Israel. He says there’s no point in going forward if they do not have God’s presence among them. He says God’s presence is what defines them.

Because of his love for Moses, and because of his mercy and compassion for his people, God agrees. His presence will dwell among the people.

Moses sought God’s presence before continuing on his journey. He would not move forward without it. Is God’s presence what you turn to before your next step? Before you start a new school; when you first start dating someone; as you prepare to enter the workforce after graduating; before you enter new life stages in marriage or parenting: is your sole source of confidence God’s presence with you? Like Moses, do you truly believe that you are defined by the presence of God? That the only way you will be able to function in the role he’s given you is because of his presence?

God is always with us as believers today because the Holy Spirit is inside of us. We can, however, grow in our experience of God’s presence! When we rely on God, when we practice awareness of him, when we worship him and talk to him, when we obey him, we experience his presence more fully.

So, before you take the next step that lies before you in life, make the responsible preparations. But above all, turn to God and his presence with you! He loves you and he is eternally devoted to you. He is your anchor in an unpredictable sea of change.

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